Many of us are surprised when we see certain profiles on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook; as to why the hell do they have such a large following or subscribers? There are people who are social media favorites, with a large fan following, ranging from lakhs to millions. But when you visit their profile, you really can’t understand, why.
The classic examples are girls. The scantier the clothes, the more the skin show, the greater the following. Guys displaying luxury, smoking cigars, spanking the butt of bikini-clad models, are having following many times more than someone giving you sensible & worthwhile knowledge or information.
I don’t know what benefit or pleasure, millions of people get by following a woman, whose every single pic is just showcasing a different makeup, or a different outfit. Or following a man, who showcases an absolutely worthless lifestyle, with no substance. Well, different people have different reasons to follow someone.
But one thing is for sure, social media has truly revealed the character of people. The type of people you follow or listen to, in a way showcases, who you really are. However, my focus is not to discuss influencers as such, but to clear a simple misunderstanding as to why do people think that more followers/subscribers mean more knowledge? That just because more people follow them, their page or their channel, why do people think they are right? In most cases, it’s the other way round.
India has over 600 million active internet users. The number of active social media users in India stood at 310 million in January 2019 and by 2023 it is expected to reach 448 million. Now, out of over app. 400 million social media users, how many do you think have the wisdom or the know-how to comprehend and dissect, and chose the right from wrong? The answer is, very few.
That’s the issue. The problem is not in the social media or the social media influencers, but with the people themselves, because they do not have the right knowledge or the wisdom to choose the right from wrong. So, they take the easiest criteria of them to choose from, when deciding upon whom to follow/subscribe, i.e. the number of followers/subscribers.
The person with more number of followers/subscribers is automatically thought to be the best in that category, and then starts the process of utter ignorance, distrust & sheer stupidity. But before we move forward, let’s assume that whichever influencer we are talking about, though no names will be taken, have all organic following.
Buying fake likes & subscribers is quite common practice these days. But most of the social media platforms, especially the ones helping you to get monetized, like YouTube, are continuously changing their policies, and it’s quite easy for them to assess the organic & inorganic traffic. So a couple of years back, when the regulations of these platforms were very lenient, many people took advantage of them and gained fast both organic and fake following. However, we should give this point in favour of the influencers.
Notwithstanding any limitation as such, the questions again arise, “what makes you think, more followers/subscribers mean more knowledge?” The answer is simply the numbers make you believe so. You think because more people follow him/her, the person must be really knowledgeable and it’s better to follow them rather than experiment with someone who is not yet an influencer.
But the reality is that “truth is only one”. If someone is selling you a lie, then be it any influencer, with any number of followers, the lie will remain strong. It won’t turn into truth. So if we talk about fitness & nutrition influencers, it doesn’t matter, whoever is a having any number of followers/subscribers, if they are deceiving you, then they are wrong.
For e.g. over many years now, with unbiased research coming in, many hidden agendas of these snake oil salesmen are being revealed to the public. So, if a supplement like glutamine, L-carnitine, chromium, CLA, apple cider vinegar, garcinia, green coffee, etc. don’t work with research, then they don’t work. If there is no evidence or research behind a concept or a supplement, then be it the supplement company, supplement wholesaler/distributor, retailer, or the trainer, the supplement simply doesn’t work.
If you are teaching all wrong and outdated concepts in fitness and health, then whoever you are, knowledge doesn’t depend on your feeling or the number of followers you have. Truth is truth.
It ultimately comes down to personal ethics and trust. For e.g. there are celebrities who are ready to sell their soul to any company paying them, and endorse their product. They care two hoots about people, their followers or the health of the nation. For them its money first. For e.g., many influencers have formed supplement companies and promoting their brand through their social media platforms. This is never an issue, its business. But the issue is when you are selling something which doesn’t work, and are not ready to accept the fact that you are wrong.
Then there are some who are not ready to take shit from anyone and work on the basis of unbiased truth. Their aim is to build the trust factor in their followers, based on authenticity. Their ethics are too strong.
But there is a third category also, the overconfident idiots. A classic case of shoot shit with confidence. I really haven’t understood, how so many people get the guts to lie so openly or utter any crap, and that too so confidently. For e.g. the classic examples of these in Indian fitness and health industry in YouTube are videos with titles “Lose 10kgs in 10 days”, “remove side fat in 5min”, “1200 calorie diets for weight loss” etc.
Out of the above three types of influencers, the third one is the most dangerous, and the ones to influence people the most.
But in none of these cases, a number of followers/subscribers matter. If a person with 5 million followers, lie to you, then the lie remains a lie.
That’s why you have to be very careful while choosing the people you follow or subscribe to. Look at their background, their credentials, their educational qualifications, their achievements, and above all the source/evidence of the information they are passing on to you through their channel. If there is no research or evidence behind a fact, then you better have all the doubts before accepting it. In the field of health, fitness, nutrition & supplementation, there are no self-made theories.